The hardest thing in the world is to make a Decision properly.
What do I mean properly?
I mean a decision you make once and you never have to revisit because it was the right choice pushing you in the right direction at the right time.
Most of the time we make the best Decisions we can based on our best guess and / or the best available information at the time. What would be different if we did even a little extra research beforehand?
Then there’s the tricky bit. How much weight do we give to the emotional input and the ‘gut feeling’? Lots of people will tell you that the emotions have no place in business. I can’t agree. We are emotionally driven and a massive number of our Decisions are actually made based on emotion and then backed up wth the facts that suit our emotional choice. Think about the last car you bought. You picked the one you LIKED best within the price bracket you could afford. And isn’t liking an emotion? Or what about the home you chose. How important was the ‘feel’ of the place. I bet there were places you looked at and said an immediate NO for some feeling or other. Even the career you picked was not necessarily based on aptitude as much as looking for something you would enjoy doing. So we accept the power of emotion in influencing our decisions.
I thought we might try to learn from some mistakes. I want to focus on just 3 areas where quite often No Decision is made at all. Any decision, even a wrong one, is better that just making it up as you go along. You can always change your mind by making a different decision. Let’s examine three non decisions and see why they were bad and so avoid repeating the mistake.
- The first decision is one that most start ups never actually make. Something just evolves as the business comes in. How do you ensure that you get paid and paid on time?
The decision here is really about what processes and structures do you put in place in order to minimise time lost collecting the money and in fact making it easier for customers to pay you. Micro enterprises should avoid offering credit in my opinion. You can’t afford it. Where a project is ongoing there need to be clear payment points understood by everyone and most important of all: Ask for the money. Being polite about money hurts your business. So Decide what you do write it down as part of the terms of business you use and stick to it
- The second one is rarely done consciously. How do you pick the people you choose to do business with?
Most people take what they get rather than deciding who is my ideal customer? Supplier? Business associate? If we do this we will surely learn in the school of hard knocks whether the person we are dealing with is honest, truthful, reliable and so on. That will be probably very expensive learning. Wouldn’t a few hours of research, half a dozen phone calls to find out about the person before doing business with them and then writing up a good contract be more prudent rather than relying on a gentlemen’s agreement.
- The really good small businesses do the 3rd one but most do not. How do you measure the performance of the business? Making the Decision to measure means you know what works well and what doesn’t and that prevents you from becoming a busy fool. That means every hour you spend working can become an earning hour. That’s the power of measuring.
These 3 areas aren’t just decisions though. They need consistent implementation. But the first step is to decide to act. The decision to change is the key to unlocking the profitability of the business.
So what is the most important decision you can make? Decide to change. Because as we’ve said before: If you always do…..
So make a decision to change something today. Change something small to help your business to improve; and measure the impact of that change. That leads to growth and who doesn’t want to grow their business